22 - 28 APRIL 1966
Commander's Combat Note #21
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 22 APRIL THROUGH 28 APRIL 1966
This week I wish to praise the outstanding work performed by our
maintenance detachments which have month after month kept the aircraft of
this Battalion flying several thousand hours over the program. These units
are the 391st Transportation Detachments, supporting the 68th Aviation
Company; the 563d Transportation Detachment, supporting the 74th Aviation
Company; The 573d Transportation Detachment, supporting the 118th Aviation
Company;The 571st Transportation Detachment, supporting the 197th Aviation
Company; and the 151st Transportation Detachment, supporting A/501st
During the period the 145th Aviation Battalion conducted one airmobile
operation involving all companies of the Battalion. The other operation
consisted of companies of this Battalion reinforcing other aviation units,
companies operating independently to support ground combat units, & daily
III (ARVN) Corps support. The 197th Aviation Company continued to conduct
numerous Lighting Bug & other aerial fire support missions, while the 74th
Aviation Company provided fixed wing support to US & ARVN Forces in the III
Corp area. Operation Sea Wolf continued to strike at the Viet Cong in the
Rung Sat Special Zone.
Company A/501st continued their supporting of the 173d Airborne Brigade
in the Song Be Area on 22 April, by conducting an assault and a subsequent
extraction with 476 troopers.
On 23 April, the 68th Aviation Company returned from the IV Corps Area,
where they supported the 21st (ARVN) Division for 2 days. During that time
they conducted 7 combat assaults and 1 extraction in the Vi Thanh area. Two
aircraft were hit by enemy fire.
This was a busy day for the 118th Aviation Company, conducting 2
airmobile operations for III (ARVN) Corps. The 1st operation consisted of
airlifting 2 CIDG Companies, 1 from Bien Hoa and the other from Dong Xoai to
an area 30 kilometers east of Song Be. Also lifted were 90 CIDG dependents.
The 2nd operation was initiated by the company when they responded to the
requirement to relocate the 9th (ARVN) Regiment to Song Be. In 10 lifts the
company relocated 1150 troops, the last portion being conducted during the
hours of darkness.
The 68th Aviation Company and Company A/501st supported the 1st (US)
Infantry Division's operation BIRMINGHAM on 24 April. These companies
airlifted 549 troops in 5 airmobile assaults northwest of Tay Ninh. Enemy
ground fire accounted for 4 aircraft being hit.
The 118th Aviation Company responded to a rapid reaction to support the
Capital Military Region by extracting 120 ARVN troops from a site 10
kilometers east of Saigon. In order to respond to this mission it was
necessary to recall the aircraft of company from a variety of tasks
locations within the III Corps area. From alert to mission accomplishment 1
hour and 40 minutes elapsed.
On 26 April, 10 armed helicopters of the Battalion flew in support of
MACV directed missions. Company A/501st supported the 25th (ARVN) Division
by airlifting 96 ranger troops in 2 combat assaults in the vicinity of Duc
On 28 April, the 145th Aviation Battalion supported III (ARVN) Corps'
portion of operation BIRMINGHAM, by airlifting 1406 troops of the Airborne
(ARVN) Division in 4 combat assaults 30 kilometers north of Tay Ninh. In a
subsequent action, 280 ARVN Rangers were airlifted in 1 combat assault north
of Tay Ninh.
The armed helicopters of the 197th Aviation Company accounted for 5
sampans sunk and 1 damaged.
The 74th Aviation Company conducted the following fixed wing missions
for the period:
Visual Reconnaissance 85
Escort Missions 77
Radio Relay 16
Artillery Adjustment 86
Forward Air Control 4
Command Liaison 70
Command Staff Liaison 7
The activities of Task Force Sea Wolf for the past two weeks consisted
of flying armed aircraft support for river patrol boats in the Rung Sat
Special Zone supporting the Nha Be
(Headquarters) and Soi Rap-Long Than River Areas. The armed helicopters
operate from two naval vessels at this time; they are the LSD Tortuga and
the LST Floyd County. The armed aircraft flew a total of 82 hours for the
two week period accounting for an estimated 10 Viet Cong killed and two
sampans destroyed. On 26 April, the U.S.S. Tortuga was visited by General
Westmoreland, COMNAVFORC, at which time they were able to witness the armed
helicopters in action.
The operational statistics for the Battalion are as follow:
Total Sorties 4723
Total Flying Hours 1688
Total Passengers 6263
Total Sorties 400
Total Flying Hours 585
Training in the conduct of night airmobile operations on platoon and
company level progressed as operational committments permitted.
The awards received by members of this Battalion this week are as
Air Medal for Valor 11
Air Medal 144
Purple Heart 8
This week this Battalion was awarded its 10,000th Air Medal since
January 1965. The 10,000th Air Medal was awarded to Specialist E-5 James
Bryant, (Crewchief) Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th Aviation
CIVIC ACTION (22 April - 28 April 1966)
This Battalion should be proud of the dynamic civic action program that
it is promoting. Many worthwhile and lasting contributions are made that are
vivid demonstrations of the motives of the United States Forces in Vietnam.
Each unit of this Battalion feels a responsibility for segment of Vietnamese
Life and each active participant obtains personal satisfaction that he is
doing just a little more than he was expected to do. In transacting all
civic action projects through GVN province officials we are assured that the
need for assistance is valid and it strengthens the tie of the people to the
government. We are thankful for the generous assistance that we have
received from a number of wives, families, and organizations in the United
States in the form of contributions. I am certain that their efforts are
well rewarded by observing the expression of gratitude in the face of a
bare-cheeked-behind, Vietnamese youngster receiving a good set of clothes.
On 26 April the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th Aviation
Battalion donated 2715$VN piasters to purchase school furniture for the self
help construction project at Bui Vinh. In addition, a water truck with
driver supported the school construction project for three days. Thirty
pounds of clothing received from supporters in the United States were
distributed to sixty refugee families in Bui Vinh. Chaplin Barnes
distributed approximately 400 pounds of foodstuffs and sanitation items at
the Don Bosco school in Saigon.
The 68th Aviation Company was active in the area of transportation.
During the week, airmobile elements evacuated and relocated 86 refugees and
ARVN dependents and 5000 pounds of foodstuff and household goods.
The Officers and men of the 74th Aviation Company donated approximately
300 pounds of foodstuffs to the 5th ARVN Division dependents. In addition,
the officers donated 3 cases of soap to the children at Thu Dan Mot through
the local GVN official. Members of the 4th Platoon accomplished an emergency
medical evacuation of a refugee mother and daughter to the Phu Cuong
The 118th Aviation Company donated foodstuff, clothing and sanitation
items to the orphanage, evacuated refugees at Song Ben and was active in the
Health & Sanitation, and Education fields. The officers and men donated 2000
pounds of foodstuffs, and 200 pounds of clothing, cleaning products and
medical supplies to the Bien Hoa Orphanage. Sp-4 Amisano conducted
conversational English classes for residents of Cong Ly Street. Airmobile
elements evacuated 37 refugees on two separate occasions from search and
destroy areas to refugee centers at Song Be and Duc Hoa. Doctor Altomonte
treated approximately 25 patients
on his weekly visit to the Tan Uyen Leper Colony.
The 197th Aviation Company continued its support to the An Loc
Orphanage. Thirty pounds of clothing received from supporters in the United
States, and two cases of soap were donated to the orphanage. Sp-5 Geary, a
medic, gave on the spot medical aid to include a tetanus shot to a
Vietnamese National who had stepped on a nail. The officers assisted the
orphanage in obtaining water during this critical period by providing a pump
and an operator to fill the water reservoir at the orphanage.
A/501st Aviation Battalion accomplished a variety of task in their
support of Bui Heip refugee center. At the request of the Chief, a truck was
provided to transport building material for the self-help school project.
Conversational English classes were conducted on the 25th and 28th and as a
result of the interest generated, classes will be given four days per week
starting 2 May. In addition, airmobile elements evacuated a total of 50
refugees from a search and destroy area west of Tay Ninh.
Horst K. Joost Lt. Col Inf
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145th MEMORABILIA SENT IN
Col James S Jewel, Capt with 334th 1966-67, & Major CO 120th
sent in these item for our Battalion Display:
145th CAB pictorial history (photocopy) published 1967, 334th yearbook
(photocopy) published 1966, 120th yearbook (photocopy) published 1972. Copy
of orders and some documents from both tours. A III Military Region special
map, SEA Tactical VFR charts, FLIP of the terminal area in SEA, Low Altitude
insturment approch procedures for SEA in 1972, and other related stuff. One
each of three pairs of leader green tabs that were used during both my tours
and two different types of 145th pins that were used with plain green tabs.
A 334 patch in the plastic cover/holder that we wore on the shirt pocket
button in 66/67. A 5 cent MPC and a 20 Dong RVN note. Pictures of: 50
mission (Embassy roof) patch, the "Underdogs" yellow patch, "Raider 26"
helmet 66/67, Deans (120th) "drinking suit". Lastly, nomex flight suit shirt
from the Deans, patch still on, still with the sleeves rolled up from the
last "mamma san" laundry.
The "Underdogs" yellow patch was one of the platoon patches that were
made in 1972 when the 120th was designed as the residual aviation company
for III Corp and we grew to over 80 aircraft in 11 platoons and Maj Jewel
(at the time) authorized individual platoon colored baseball caps and
platoon patches to create some sense of identity/cohesion quickly for the
over 600 strong company. With many infused from other units standing down
who had not made the cut for a "drop" and return to the "world", it was
important to find an organizational level the soldiers could relate to and
the company was way to big for that at the time, being bigger than most
battalions. The 120th at that time had 4 Huey platoons, 2 OH-58 platoon, a
gunship platoon (Razorbacks), a CH-47 platoon, a CH-54 platoon, a
maintenance platoon (over 200 strong), and a headquuarters platoon. At one
time there were 165 officers and warrant officers with 85 of them being
Craig Clapper sent in a South Vietnamese flag and 16 pocket patches,
pilot wings, and a cloth and brass WO insignia (Bird & Wreath). The 1970/71
incountry patches are: 2-1st Avn Bde, 3-68th Top Tiger (subdued), 3-68th
Mustang Gun Ship, 1-118th Bandit Gun Ship, 1-334th (Medal), 1-334th (choth),
1-334th Playboy, 1-SE Asia War Games Participant, 1-VietNam Cambodia War
Game Participant, 1-Short Timer, 1-Ranch Hand Viet-Nam.
Robert Moody sent in a photocopy of the 1970-71 135th yearbook and
cassette tape, the Attack on Dong Tam, 0530hrs, 21 Nov 70, and a Assault
Helicopter mission on 23 Nov 70. The first part of the tape, Attack on Dong
Tam was recorded by laying the microphone on the bunker during the attack
and recorded the sounds of the 'incoming' and 'out going artillery', machine
gun fire, gunships firing rockets and mini-guns over head. The biggest part
of the tape, Assault Helicopter mission, was recorded on a mission when
they caught the NVA, it records the voices of the crew, radio conversations,
and the sounds of the rockets, mini-guns, and M-60's.
Other comments from Col Jewel's letter
Just a few other comments and observations Jim. You are doing a great
job with the newsletter!! And the new type is definately easier for this old
aviator to read!! Have heard from Jeff Thomason since you listed me as
'found' and am looking foward to looking up Bob Talgren the next time I go
to visit my daughter and her husband in Orlando! Cpt Michael S (Steve)
Chenault was LTC last time I saw him here in Washington, DC and I am sure he
is retired by now. There is a retiree locator at ARPERCEN, 1700 Page Blvd,
St Louis, MO that might be of some assistance locating those retired and are
still drawing a check. Also, CWO Pharies P (Bud) Petty was a CW3 last time I
saw him instructing at Ft Rucker in 1971. I also remember "Ready Wrench 6",
aka John Riggle, well from the 334th days. In the last newsletter Joe Nealon
wondered if the 120th went to the Gulf War. It is highly unlikely that they
did as they have been a part of the 6th ID in Alaska since the colors were
taken there in 1972 and the 6th did not deploy to the Gulf! As for Doc
White, I remember him well as the Bn flight surgeon in 67 but am no help
beyond that-- sorry. The inquiry in NL#16 on where to get copies of General
Orders ought to contact the Army Center for Military History here in
Washington DC. BG Bill Stoft heads that organization and I would imagine if
anyone has them or knows where to get them, he does. If I can help anyone
with that I would be happy to do so. In that same newsletter, LTC Bob
Herbold (Ret) inquired about the "USARV Flt Det at Hotel 3", that flight
detachment did indeed keep that title throught out its stay in RVN and it
became a part of the Playboy Platoon in the 120th!! It supported both MACV
and USARV HQ while I commanded the Deans-- at H-3 for General Adrams and the
embassy and at Long Binh for General McCaffery (whose son Barry commanded
the 24th Div in Desert Storm!)
For those members who suffer from 'genuine' PTSD, a fellow former
member of the battalion from the 66/67 era, Capt David Niles, has since got
out of the service and did his PhD work on alcoholism and PTSD here in the
Washington area. I am still looking for his card and address and will send
it along when I find it. He might be a good source for some members of the
association. I would also encourage any member who recieved a less than
fully honorable discharge, to contact veterans organization or the American
Red Cross to assist them to submit a DD form 293 to seek an upgrade to their
discharge. I know that PTSD is considered a mitigating factor in
consideration of such cases.
In NL#18, H Earle Thompson inquired about copies of the songs of army
aviation in RVN. I have a very good one done there in 1966 by Chris
Christopherson when he was flying with the Robin Hoods. Have to dig that out
if someone wants a copy of it.
Well, this has been long and rambling enough. Sure wish I could have
made it to the reunion but had a conflict with my 30 year high school
reunion which I had made a prior commitment to. Will flag my calender for
the 1993 one in Dallas however. Hope this finds you and your family well
Jim. I have a captured 1903 springfield rifle and the pistol belt and
ammunition along with the back pack and black pajamas, etc from a VC who
made the mistake of popping out of a spider hole along a canal in the plain
of reeds west of Duc Hoa one day and took aim at my head. God bless those
door gunners!! Maybe I will bring it to the 1993 reunion--- whatchathink!??
God bless and keep you and keep up the good work!! Let me know if I can be
of further assistance. Sincerely, James S Jewel, Colonel, USA
I want to thank Col James Jewel, Craig Clapper, Robert Moody, and all
that have sent in items for the Battalion archives and historical display.
Many of our members have seen part of our Display at the Reunions and from
their comments the display is really good. I also want to thank Col Jewel
for his letter and all the information contained in it. I also want to ask
Col Jewel to do what ever he can do to help us contact anyone who served
with our units and to help us with any historical information he can. The VC
equipment sounds real good for the Reunion, Bill Fraker tells me there are
many stories to these trophies of the UTT/68th/197th. Mike Davis who served
as a pilot with the UTT/68/197 in 1964-65 and Cobra NETT in 1967-68, sent in
a copy of his tape Song of the UTT, recorder in 1965 in Vietnam. Mike sent
the tapes in response to my calling him and asking if I could copy the tapes
to sell as a fund raiser item.
I also want to thank Robert Mis for donating the return address stamp
we use for items we send out in regular mail, It saves Deb a lot of writing
and she really appreciates it.